Not a week goes by without a diver telling us: “It's decided, I'm going pro! How should I do it?". With this in mind, we asked the question not to God but to some of his apostles. We deliver their answers to you.
Your 1ère immersion? At 9 years
How many dives to your assets? I have not counted for a long time but I must be more than 6000.
First image published and sold? In 1997 in “Oceans”.
A few prizes here and there but the most important for me: the first prize in the photo competition of the International Polar Year in 2009.
Your customers? Different institutions: CNRS, IFREMER, IPEV, Marine Natural Park, Universities, design offices, companies in the cosmetics sector, tourist offices, newspapers, etc.
- Is the underwater image your main activity? No, I am also an assistant engineer at the CNRS at the European University Institute of the Sea in Brest and responsible for the Means of the Sea and Scientific Diving Service.
- The 2 most “important” images for you?
- What equipment do you work with? Budget? I am equipped with Subal boxes and Nikon boxes. This makes a significant budget of around € 30.
- Is the activity different between your beginnings and today? Yes, the business has changed a lot, the arrival of digital technology has changed working methods. The deadlines for submitting a subject are shorter. digital technology quickly allows you to be sure you have covered a subject.
The means of transferring images have changed, we have gone from enveloped mail which could take several days to digital transfer… A real revolution! All this has also changed the human relations of the environment. We went from real human relations with mutual trust between the photographer and an editor-in-chief, for example, to more abstract and less warm things ...
- Is video essential? Video becomes essential, requests for clips and other small films for the Internet are now regular and allow to increase its turnover.
- Any advice for young people who wish to embark on the adventure? Master the dive and quickly opt for a professional qualification (Class 1B at least), have a good general knowledge of the marine environment and train in professional shooting in a specialized school.
Your website? http://e.amice.free.fr
- Your first immersion? at 8 years in Le Lavandou, Fourmigue in August 1970 ...
- How many dives to your credit? I stopped this counting at 5000
- Date on which your 1st image is published? In 1989 in Sharm El Sheikh in a local duck (photos of Thitlegorm on which I was one of the first to dive!)
- Date on which you sell your 1st image? Off 1985 diving, 1989 diving.
- Rewards, prizes at festivals? Winner of Peter Stuyvesant Travel (kind of Koh Lanta at the time) with a prize around the world. Grand Prix of the Jules Vernes adventurers (prize awarded by the press) awarded with the greatest explorers of the moment, Cousteau, Paul Emile Victor,.
- Who are your clients? All TOs, dive mags, sites, advertising (Aqualung), editors (Bordas, hatchet), books (I made a big part of the World Tour in 80 dives with Sahuquet and Mioulane). The FFESSM, etc.
- Is the underwater image your main activity? No, impossible, it represents about 20% of the figure
- The 2 most “important” images for you?
Le Figaro on cover for the death of Cdt Cousteau.
The sea serpent, I have never taken a foot since I dive, a moment of grace as some would say, a shock encounter, an incredible wealth of funds and the cherry on the cake these snakes that covered the bottom!
- What equipment do you work with? Budget? Formerly Sea & Sea, now I'm with Isotta and Hubert Lacour, I shoot European, more Japanese 🙂 Budget: around 23000 euros.
- Is the activity different between your beginnings and today? Yes, we no longer have the income that came from copyright, photos in the photo library that we brought back reports, moreover many amateur photographers give their photos to go on a trip for free.
- Is video essential? No, but this is the next corner for us because the TOs want small shots for the sites.
- Any advice for young people who wish to embark on the adventure? Do something else ! No, joking aside, it takes a lot of patience, to have a profession in liberal profession to be able to leave regularly, to make the competitions, to go on the Salons.
- Want to add something? That it's magic to be able to live from his passion, if I could, I'll leave every 15 days.
- Your website? blue-down.com
Your 1ère immersion? In 1988 in Martinique, on vacation.
How many dives to your assets? About 7.000
Date publication of your 1ère image? 1996
Date of your 1ère sale? 1996
Awards, prizes in festivals? Silver diver Antibes 1997, Golden diver Antibes 1998, Golden palm of the Antibes submarine guide, Winner BBC Wildlife Photographer of the year 2010, Montier 2013 Gold Award
Who are your customers? Press, publishing ...
Is the underwater image your main activity? Single and unique, so yes.
Your favorite 2 images? The one that was the most sold at the time: manta (silver).
And the one that allowed me to win the “wildlife photografer of the year”From the BBC.
Your equipment? Your budget? Nikon D700, Seacam housing + optical range. 20.000 Budget €
Differences in your activity between your beginnings and today? Oh yes. Internet and digital have killed the craft. Now everyone pretends to be a photographer.
Is video essential? From plus to plus.
A tip to young people who would like to embark on the adventure? Good luck !
Your website? www.pascalkobeh.com
- Your first immersion? In childhood, in Greece, my country of origin
- How many dives to your credit? When we love we do not count. But probably beyond 5.000.
- Date on which your 1st image is published? 2003
- Date on which you sell your 1st image? 2003
- Rewards, prizes at festivals? No, I do not participate as a competitor. I think that recognition in the form of a publication is enough for me and that the competitions must allow others to publicize their work. But I am regularly on juries and I appreciate these community meetings.
- Who are your clients? Press dive, mass media, com boxes, dive organizations, photo agencies - and I work with all of Europe.
- Is the underwater image your main activity? With his teaching and distribution of Seacam material in addition to travel and reporting, yes.
- The 2 most “important” images for you?
1) The tiger sharks of the Bahamas, which we were the first to shoot out of cage: 15 magazines, 8 covers - this is the subject that made me known in Europe!
2) The descent of Herbert Nitsch, in 2012, during the world record attempt that almost cost him his life. One of the strongest emotions I have ever felt underwater, this picture is with me forever.
- What equipment do you work with? Budget? Canon and Seacam for photography, Aqua Lung and Cressi for diving and apnea. All are essential partners and sponsors, which answers the question of the budget 😉
- Is the activity different between your beginnings and today? Yes, of course, free work has spread widely, some mags are coming to the TO catalog, Facebook can be said to have been successful before even having a semblance of resumes ... For our part, it's as the rest of the publishing world actually is: when we have sorted out the Internet and the paper, the free and the professional, when the reporters will do articles with angles that distinguish them, we will find a healthier logic.
- Is video essential? More and more requested.
- Any advice for young people who wish to embark on the adventure? Make yourself known through contests, sites like 500px or Flickr, never publish an image for free, don't quit a well-paid job just because you believe in it. It is not the immediate years to come that will favor the profession, but someone who knows how to surprise, be original, and share his work can always do it! And to conclude on the question of the title: no, this is not a sector of the future.
- Your website www.sunfishproductions.com
Your 1ère immersion? September 1970
How many dives to your assets? In 2001> 4000. I have stopped counting since.
Date on which your 1ere image is published? 1984
Date at which you sell your 1ère image? 1984
Awards, prizes in festivals? Gold Medal World Festival of the underwater image Antibes. Then, my only participation in festivals were as a member of the jury: Antibes, Flores (Indonesia), Tenerife (Canary Islands), Antwerp (Belgium)
Who are your customers? Photography agencies, Magazines, Publishers, Communication agencies.
Is the underwater image your main activity? No, writing press articles and especially books and guides on the sea represents 60% of my total activity.
The 2 most “important” images for you?
On 7500 images online on my site, it is certainly not the most beautiful, but it evokes for me an intense moment of emotion. During my first dive in Patagonia (water at 8 ° C), an exceptionally bright, straight-colored whale came to push my box with the end of the chin. I saw it as a sign of welcome.
Same reason for my choice as the first picture: emotion. Brittany, difficult sea, strong current, poor visibility but a succession of beautiful exchanges between my friend Didier Brémont and a wild dolphin we called Wifi. Finally, I consider a successful image only when it conveys my emotion felt at the time of shooting.
What equipment do you work with? Budget? 2 Nikon D800 + Zoom 16-35 and Fisheye 10.5 Nauticam Housings + Inon Flashes and Accessories. Budget photo: from 15 to 18.000 €
Is the activity different between your beginnings and today? Not really. The curriculum is always the same: Shots, image processing with rigorous identification of contents, sending to agencies. Writing adapted according to whether it is press articles, guides or books, depending on the age of future readers.
Is video essential? I do not know, this activity is totally foreign to me. For me, it's another medium, another way to convey an event. My activity is mainly concentrated on the book or the press (even digital), I would have neither the taste, nor the time and especially not the competence to cumulate the two.
Any advice for young people who wish to embark on the adventure? Above all, have a first real job. And do not take his desires for realities. A reputation is not built on some medals gleaned here and there. It takes years to get into the professional image landscape. And above all, we must not try to imitate anyone. Whoever passes his passing exam is the one who is spontaneously solicited for his work by the publishers.
Want to add something? Ask yourself the following question: Why do I want to do that? If the mercantile side takes precedence, it is better to do something else. If there is a real freshness, a real passion, things will advance on their own.
In addition, possess a true culture in biology if one wants to belong to an agency. Identification errors are the best way to get ejected.
Your website? www.gerardsoury.net
- Your first immersion? Bottled at the age of 11, with a mask around 3 years old
- How many dives to your credit? 5000 and wheelbarrows, with a ladle, a long time that I no longer count. But the pace has slowed down. I do fewer services because more Personal films, so less on the move.
- Date on which your 1st image is published? Films on the Var wrecks in 1997 on VHS….
- Date on which you sell your 1st image? 1998, on Pierre Frolla's first variable weight freediving record in France in 1998 for tmc. Since then I have not been able to get rid of Pierre… My first company, video hexagon in 1998 too.
- Rewards, prizes at festivals? Houla…. Make you pass the list in pj ... But the very first price, the one which really does something, is the news information price in large format at the Antibes festival in 2000 for a film on the abandoned nets at the bottom, the meshes forgotten. André laban, president of the jury. I just bought a beta cap box from René Heuzey, and I find myself on the stage with all the image giants, boss, Heuzey .. I am sitting in the room next to a youngster who is waiting for his name … Laurent Ballesta .. His first gold diver….
- Who are your clients? F3 at the beginning, I do a lot of current affairs, magazines… Then I shoot for productions on docs. At the same time, I make a lot of films that my company produces.
- Is the underwater image your main activity? Until 2007, I only did submarine service. In 2006, I set up fish moon productions, more focused on documentary Prod. I slowly branch off towards making documentaries for TV. Today, I no longer do a lot of nimble work for other productions and only do the terrestrial and underwater images of my docs. This allows you to get more involved in the process and no longer count your hours… .. But hey, I did not count them before….
- The most “important” sequence for you? First camera on board Loic Leferme's slough, his first no-limit world record at 137m. 'The bottom image, thumb outstretched towards the lens, goes around the world. Catches even go to Paris match, vsd ...
- What equipment do you work with? Budget? I started in hi8 and amphibious housing… Then betacam housing in 2000. I bought a second-hand beta sp camera, the holy grail at the time. The lenses cost more than my car and the VCRs the price of a porch! Madness… But there weren't many people around. A real treat, this beta box, beautifully balanced and incredibly stable. Well, 50kg with the cam… The luggage supplements were going really better at the time… Then change of cam, digital beta, a hell of a lot of quality. Appearance of the dv, vx1000 and amphibico box, I had 2, then the hdv arrives, 2 z1 cams, with sea and sea and amphibico box. Then 5d mark2 with hugyfot box. I have worked a lot with the 5d since 2009. Ease at customs, by plane… But light underwater, too much even, and you have to be really careful with stability, but I like the style of the image. Then ex1 and Gates housing, which I quickly sold because the 5d had become my favorite toy… Today I went back to heavier, more stable and again much more expensive equipment, red epic and nauticam housing. Ultra HD arrives quickly, although in France, the channels have not yet all gone to HD… But when you like the material…
- Is the activity different between your beginnings and today? Yes, even with 15 years of hindsight, at the time we were between 5 and 10 in France to make images. Dinosaurs monopolized the big markets and the others small docs, magazines… I did 300/400 dives per year for work, a treat. But there was room and something to do. Today, too many people, the equipment has become accessible, the gopros have spoiled the environment. Prods have less budget, to believe that for the majority, an underwater image does not matter much, being underwater is enough, no matter the quality. As long as it's cheap or free… I have requests for free shootings every day… With my name in the credits royally… A real happiness… I went to directing for a lot because of that, this drop in quality and need very different from our images. And then too many people in the loop ...
- Any advice for young people who wish to embark on the adventure? A wonderful job… Allow time, €€€€ and… a lucky star !!!
It is clear that the road is long and that very few pros make a living from this activity 100%. This does not mean, however, that the game is not worth the candle ...